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Modern tech behemoths such as Apple and Google are considering automobiles to be the new battleground for personalized technology

Today when we think about tech companies we tend to restrict ourselves to only considering the mobile and desktop frontiers. This focus on software versus hardware has made us increasingly shortsighted as we stop seeing the potential applications of technology in our everyday lives. A recent push by leading technology companies (including Apple and Google) is integrating personalized technology into something that 76% of working Americans do everyday; driving a car.

With commutes becoming longer and longer each year due to the growth of the workforce and the congestion of urban cities, tech companies are looking to capitalize on a rather vacant market. According to CNBC, the personalization of cars will take on two flavors; complete car integration and easier voice interface. In terms of complete car integration, Google spearheaded the initiative earlier this year announcing the Open Automotive Alliance, a consortium of automakers and web developers partnered together to create Android integrated cars, at this year's Consumer Electronics Show. From this consortium, Google was able to unveil Google Auto Link, which similar to Apple's CarPlay announced last year with iOS 7, lets drivers transfer their phone's computing platforms directly to their dashboard. This integration not only lets drivers personalize their experience with music, navigation and social media but also has predictive capabilities that can tell you where you will be going by analyzing your calendars and events. In terms of the second flavor mentioned above which is related to voice interface, it ties in a concept of personalization mentioned in an article by Business2Community which argues that true personalization mandates that a human touch be added to a non-personal interaction (such as driving). Microsoft's Cortana and Apple's Siri have already paved the way for this pseudo-human interaction but they are still far and away from being completely useful. 

The key in this matter is development. Currently, only 10% of automobiles today have built-in connectivity but according to the Machina Research Group, by 2020 that number will escalate to around 90% of automobiles. The future is expansive and concepts of the "computer" car are not too far off from reality. Analysts describe how the key to the future of automobile personalization rests in predictive analytics (such as mentioned above with Apple's CarPlay or Google Auto Link) but goes beyond it. In the future the dynamic of a car may shift from being primarily a method of transportation to primarily an intelligent computer that knows your attributes and lifestyle that also provides you with mobility. 

I honestly look forward to the day when personalization of technology becomes advanced to the point that I can hop in a car and it will take me where I need to go without the need for me to instruct it or drive it. With the advent of the self driving car and already pre-established links between tech companies and automobile manufacturers, a completely autonomous yet symbiotic tech-savvy car can be in the horizon. In summation, personalization of technology can take on many forms and with the growing interest in human-computer interaction, a complete immersion of humanity with their tech-enabled cars is definitely something to look forward to.


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